In Miami and all of South Florida, if you leave any opening for water to seep in, it definitely will. Caulking your windows is an important aspect of routine home maintenance, especially as windows get older and their seals break down.
As the premier storm window experts in South Florida, we’ve seen which window caulking methods work best. Read on for our tips on how to caulk windows and get the perfect bead every time.
The Importance of Caulking Your Windows
Window caulking maintains good weatherization at the most vulnerable points of a window. Without it, an old window loses most of its primary function. In fact, that applies to even some of the newer standard windows on the market today. At first, getting a nice, even bead can be trickier than it seems, but you can dramatically improve your window caulking skills with just a few brief pointers.
The Current State of Your Windows
Window seals eventually fail, and sometimes quickly. Other times, cracks develop because the previous window installer didn’t account for material expansion and contraction. If you notice any of the following, your window likely needs some attention:
- Water leaks
- Humidity with no alternate cause (like an unseated dryer vent)
- Incoming drafts
- Discoloration, which could indicate mold
If particularly bad, these signs could signify that a window replacement is in order.
Caulking or Upgrading Your Windows
Choosing the Right Caulk
Pay attention to whether a window caulk product is for internal or external use, depending on which side of your window is failing. A strong window frame seal requires both. If the window frame runs adjacent to masonry, you’ll need a masonry-specific variety, and there are also brands rated for high humidity.
Finally, you’ll need a caulk gun. We recommend choosing one with a thumb release, which stops caulk output much better than ratchet-style caulking guns.
Prepping the Area
Remove the old caulk, even if it isn’t visibly peeling or disintegrating, because when it does, the new caulk will be compromised. Thoroughly clean and dry the area, ensuring there aren’t oily or other residues left over.
Cut the minimal amount off the end of the caulk tube at first to create a small hole. If the bead size is too small, cut off a small additional amount, and so on. Cutting too much off is undoable.
Running the Bead
Use both hands, holding the trigger with your dominant hand and placing the non-dominant hand on the barrel. Keep your elbows against your ribs, and don’t extend them outward too far unless you have to.
For vertical seams, start the bead at the top and “ride the edge” of the window glass. Maintain your arm and wrist angle position by bending with the knees and holding your torso vertically. You should practice a few times first. If that’s awkward, bend the elbows as minimally as you can.
Getting an Even Bead
Applying a uniform bead requires consistent pressure, but the pressure lowers by the end of the trigger pull. The solution is to stop when you notice the bead becomes thinner, then start again at the other side. Meet the first bead in the middle, releasing the trigger a little before the previous bead.
As mentioned, keep the tip running smoothly along the edge of the window and not the frame. The frame is rarely even and can cause waves or bumps in the bead. Use the glass instead.
Making Sure the Job Will Last
It’s important to consider if the failed window seal wasn’t just caused by disintegrating old caulk. If the window pane is loose, the outer frame wasn’t installed properly, or there’s some other structural issue, the new bead also might not last.
Always have your window issues looked at by an experienced professional before investing any time in them. It’s the only way to know for sure if window caulking is the best move or if it would be more advantageous to upgrade to something with far stronger weatherization, to begin with.
Elite Impact Glass Can Help You Determine When To Upgrade Your Windows
Maintaining your window seals can dramatically affect your energy efficiency while preventing mold and other growths from damaging your property. Before rushing into a window caulking project, find out if you’re better off replacing them instead.
Elite Impact Glass is the most trusted and dependable window installation professional in South Florida. Contact us to schedule an appointment to learn if your window weatherization needs could be a lot better served with a superior product built to withstand the most extreme and subtle elements alike.
Image source: Greg McGill on Shutterstock